Nashville Police To Roll Out Body Cameras For Entire Department in Coming Weeks
The department faced outcries of support for mandatory body cameras and dashcams after two black men were killed by police officers within two years.
- By Haley Samsel
- Sep 05, 2019
Following years of delays, the Nashville police department will roll out police body cameras for all of its officers in the next few weeks, the mayor’s office confirmed to The Nashville Tennessean.
This week, the Metro Nashville Police and the city government signed a contract with WatchGuard, a camera company who will provide the equipment to the city. Installation of dashboard cameras and the issuing of body-worn cameras is expected to begin in late September or early October, the Tennessean reported.
“I think it’s a huge step,” said Marcus Floyd, the public safety and justice policy advisor to Mayor David Briley. “This is absolutely something that’s going to improve the relationship between police and the community in Nashville. We’re full steam ahead.”
Activists have been pushing for the department to adopt mandatory body cameras for years, particularly after two black men were shot dead by Nashville police officers within two years. Sheila Clemmons, the mother of Jocques Clemmons, who was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in 2017, advocated for the cameras and told local news outlets she was relieved to hear the news.
On top of the $15 million already set aside to buy the cameras, police chief Steve Anderson told the city in March that he needed $4.6 million in additional funds to add 36 new officers and staff to oversee the rollout and the footage the cameras will produce. In addition to 10 new information technology staffers, two new public information officers will help handle requests for footage.
The department has yet to confirm if all of those positions have been filled, and the city said a final cost was not included in the contract it signed with WatchGuard.
Next steps for Nashville police include updating all of the mobile data center technology in the department’s vehicles so that they are compatible with dashboard cameras. About half of the 870-vehicle fleet has been updated so far.
WatchGuard employees are expected to start installing cameras and training officers on how to use the equipment after the vehicle updates are completed. Floyd said the plan has always been to have the cameras out in the field by this fall.
"Police and members of the public have been clamoring for these cameras, waiting with bated breath for them,” he said. “They'll be here in a few weeks."
Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.